Helen Green

Exercising Leadership

We’ve long known about the benefit of regular exercise in helping to keep us physically fit but now a new study has revealed the link between exercise and brain health. The study, which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, focused on the link between exercise and mental health in the over 50s. This conclusion was that undertaking moderate physical exercise several times a week not only helps to keep the mind sharp but also improves thinking and memory skills.

Commenting on the findings Dr Justin Varney from Public Health England said “Whilst every 10 minutes of exercise provides some benefit, doing 150 minutes a week cuts the chances of depression and dementia by a third, and boosts mental health at any age.” He went on to highlight the way in which regular exercise can easily form part of the daily round. For example, carrying heavy shopping bags is one way of undertaking strengthening exercises, whilst necessary anaerobic activity could easily be ticked off the list by walking or cycling to work.

This link between exercise and brain health highlights the benefits to be gained by businesses which actively seek to look after the health and well-being of their people. With exercise improving thinking skills, encouraging and creating the space for regular exercise is less of a cost and more a long-term benefit to the organisation. We’ve often said that leadership is as much an affair of the heart as of the head but perhaps true leadership now also needs to encompass a look towards exercising mind and body health.